Addiction Specialist

Palo Alto Mind Body

Concierge Psychiatry, Addiction Medicine, and Functional Health Specialists located in Palo Alto, CA

Whether you face an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or have a behavioral obsession with food, sex, or gambling, the uncontrollable urges and often, chemical dependency, make it nearly impossible to stop on your own. M Rameen Ghorieshi, MD, MPH, and colleagues at Palo Alto Mind Body provide customized addiction treatments, tailored specifically to your body chemistry and individual goals. By combining the latest in addiction medicine and concierge-level psychiatric therapy, not only can you stop cravings and withdrawal symptoms, but you can also work to achieve and maintain long-term recovery. As a board-certified specialist in addiction medicine, Dr. Ghorieshi has extensive experience in treating substance use disorders and behavioral addictions. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Palo Alto, California, or send a confidential email. We also serve many patients located in the surrounding Bay Area, such as South Bay, North Bay, East Bay, Peninsula, San Jose, and San Francisco.

Addiction Q & A

Palo Alto Mind Body

How do you become addicted?

Addiction is defined as repeatedly pursuing an experience despite its serious repercussions. In other words, you could put your health, finances, job, and treasured relationships with your family or friends at risk, yet you would still be driven to pursue your addiction.

Substance use

When you start using substances like opioids or alcohol, they relieve your pain and make you feel good by triggering the brain’s innate reward center.

As you keep taking them, your body begins to build up a tolerance to the amount you consume. That means you must keep increasing the dose to achieve the same effect.

Over time, the ever-increasing doses physically change the reward system in your brain, making you crave the drug. Due to these brain changes and uncontrollable cravings, you can’t control your use and you become addicted.

Behavioral addictions

Behavioral addictions, such as gambling and sex addictions, develop in a similar manner. Any type of pleasurable behavior that triggers the reward system in your brain has the ability to rewire neural circuits the same way as a drug.

What addictions are treated?

Although substance use disorder is the most common type of addiction, you can also develop behavioral addictions. Dr. Ghorieshi specializes in treating addictions such as:

Substance use disorders:

  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Tobacco/nicotine
  • Benzodiazepines (Valium®, Ativan®, Xanax®)
  • Opioids (heroin, Vicodin®, Percocet®, OxyContin®)
  • Stimulants (cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription stimulants such as Adderall®)
  • Hallucinogens (LSD, psilocybin, mescaline)
  • Empathogen-entactogens (MDMA/Ecstasy/Molly)
  • Dissociatives (PCP, DXM)

 

Behavioral addictions:

  • Gambling
  • Sex
  • Internet / video games
  • Food
  • Shopping

 

When you realize you can’t stop or control your addiction, experienced and effective help is available at Palo Alto Mind Body.

How are addictions treated?

Dr. Ghorieshi develops a customized treatment plan that incorporates evidence-based treatments to break the cycle of addiction and restore your health. Depending on your addiction, a combination of research-backed psychotherapy modalities, highly specialized medications, and nutritional support is used to treat and disconnect your dependency.

What is a medication-assisted treatment for opioids?

The providers at Palo Alto Mind Body are licensed prescribers of Subutex® and Suboxone® (buprenorphine/naloxone). Both are used to provide medication-assisted treatment, which is a method that combines medication with psychotherapy to help you to overcome an opioid addiction.

This type of program is successful because Subutex and Suboxone control your cravings, eliminate withdrawal symptoms, and block the effect of opioids, while therapy helps you identify what triggers your opioid use and learn new behaviors and coping mechanisms to sustain your recovery.

Dr. Ghorieshi closely supervises your treatment, prescribing Suboxone so you can safely withdraw from opioids. When your cravings stop, you’ll continue to take the medication until your doctor determines you’re ready to be weaned.

Can ketamine treat addictions?

Ketamine is an anesthetic and pain-relieving medication that also balances brain chemicals associated with mental health disorders.

Studies suggest that ketamine is effective for opioid addiction when used as part of a structured therapy program. Although ketamine is increasingly supported by studies for treating depression and anxiety, the current research for its use in treating addiction is more limited; however, individual clinical outcomes have seen substantial successes and have shown encouraging promise.

Is there a difference between being dependent on a substance versus an addict?

Yes. Substance dependency does differ from substance addiction. In a dependency, one is not consciously craving a substance. There was never the intent to ‘get high’ off of using prescription medication. However, after using a drug for a significant amount of time, the body biologically depends on the substance to function normally.  Abrupt or rapid discontinuation of a drug that the body is highly dependent upon can be highly uncomfortable, and sometimes fatal.

Slow and careful tapering (micro-tapering) of a substance can ease the withdrawal process and prevent life disruption, including work or school absence. You can feel confident that you will have a team to help you through the steps of the micro-taper. The withdrawal process often incorporates vital nutritional support to aid the body in making a speedy recovery.

To receive immediate help for an addiction or dependency, call Palo Alto Mind Body or send a confidential email. Please note, we also serve many patients located in the surrounding Bay Area, such as South Bay, North Bay, East Bay, Peninsula, San Jose, and San Francisco.